Who is eligible to apply for an Exploratory Seminar?

Harvard ladder (tenured or tenure-track) faculty members from any Harvard school and current or former Radcliffe fellows are eligible for the Exploratory Seminar program. (Note: In addition to professors on the ladder track, clinical professors at Harvard Law School and instructors from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine are also eligible to apply as lead applicants.) Unfortunately, adjunct faculty members, lecturers, preceptors, professors of the practice, research professors, and professors emeriti are not eligible to serve as lead applicants. However, a co-applicant who is otherwise not eligible may apply with a lead applicant who meets eligibility requirements. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact Sean O’Donnell, associate director of Academic Ventures, at sean_odonnell@radcliffe.harvard.edu.

Who is eligible to apply for an Accelerator Workshop?

Harvard ladder (tenured or tenure-track) faculty members from any Harvard school are eligible for the Accelerator Workshop program. (Note: In addition to professors on the ladder track, clinical professors at Harvard Law School and instructors from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine are also eligible to apply as lead applicants.) Unfortunately, adjunct faculty members, lecturers, preceptors, professors of the practice, research professors, and professors emeriti are not eligible to serve as lead applicants. However, a co-applicant who is otherwise not eligible may apply with a lead applicant who meets eligibility requirements. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact Sean O’Donnell, associate director of Academic Ventures, at sean_odonnell@radcliffe.harvard.edu.

How can I decide which program is best for my project or research?

The choice depends largely on the stage of your research idea. If your topic is still in early development and has not been previously explored, and you are looking to initiate a conversation about the topic, you should apply for an exploratory seminar. If, however, your idea has been gaining traction in the field, is substantially developed, and is on a path to being translated into some tangible outcome (e.g., a publication, a grant application, a course curriculum, an exhibition, a performance, or policy recommendations), you should apply for a workshop.

If I am still not sure which program to apply to, should I use the same proposal to apply to both?

No. The two programs have different purposes and requirements. If you are still unsure about the appropriate fit for your particular project, please contact Sean O’Donnell at sean_odonnell@radcliffe.harvard.edu for guidance.

If I have several projects, may I submit more than one proposal at a time?

Yes. Proposals for different projects may be submitted to either the same program or different ones.

How does this funding opportunity from Academic Ventures differ from other grant programs?

Academic Ventures is committed to funding innovative, interdisciplinary projects that might not find traction in other funding venues. Our programs are not grants that may be taken to other institutions. All our programs occur on the Radcliffe campus and are coordinated by our professional events staff.

Do your programs favor specific subject areas or topics?

Applications in all disciplines are welcome, and all proposals are considered on the basis of merit and fit with our programs.

The following areas—while not exclusive—are of special interest:

  • Radcliffe supports engaged scholarship. We welcome proposals that connect research to law, policy, pressing social issues, and/or seek to actively engage audiences beyond academia.
  • Reflecting Radcliffe’s unique history, proposals that focus on women, gender, and society or draw on the Schlesinger Library’s rich collections

Is there a quota for each subject area—i.e., arts, humanities, sciences, or social sciences?

No. While we strive to find a balance in the distribution, no set number of awards is slated for any particular discipline.

What do reviewers seek in applications?

Reviewers are looking for cutting-edge, innovative, multidisciplinary proposals that demonstrate clarity of purpose and academic focus and fit within the parameters of our programs. The standards applied are based on those in the particular field or fields represented in the proposal.

What do reviewers look for in the list of participants/invitees?

Reviewers consider whether the list includes the key researchers or practitioners from the relevant field or fields. We expect that proposed invitees will vary by gender, race/ethnicity, intellectual perspective, career stage, and institution.

Who may attend as a participant?

We encourage our program leaders to include as wide a range of participants as possible. The programs are designed to stimulate collaboration across disciplines and among scholars of varying ranks, generations, and institutions. Similarly, we encourage the inclusion of other stakeholders—such as government officials, laypersons, or NGOs—in the discussions when appropriate.

May I invite graduate students to attend as participants? Do they need to be included on my participation list?

Yes. We encourage the inclusion of participants at different stages in their academic career. Please note that anyone you would like to be in the room for your program—including graduate students—need to be included on your participant list.

Do I need to confirm the attendance of the persons listed on my participant list before submitting my application?

No. During the application stage, you do not need to confirm attendance for anyone on your participant/invitee list. In this stage, it should serve as your “wish list.” Once funding is awarded, we will work with organizers to finalize the budget and participant list. Formal invitations are sent out by our Events staff.

Can my seminar or workshop be open to the public?

No. These programs are not open to the public. Our private programs are designed to allow participants an opportunity for candid discussion about their subject matter. Any public presentation or programming will need to take place after your seminar or workshop has occurred.

Why does the review committee take institutional diversity into consideration?

We are looking to bring as many new voices to the table as possible. We encourage applicants to move beyond their established professional circles. We suggest that seminar leaders consider including, when relevant, participants from regional universities, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), faith-based universities, and traditionally conservative universities, as well as participants from diverse geographic regions.

What does the available funding cover?

Subject to budgetary limits, an award amount includes:

  • Ground and air transportation
  • En route expenses
  • Hotel for out-of-town guests
  • Meals for the program duration
  • Meeting space and audiovisual support
  • Additional needs, such as language translation services, following discussion with the Radcliffe staff

What is not included in funding?

Funding does not cover:

  • Honoraria for organizers or participants
  • Recording or transcription costs
  • Printing or mailing costs (we offer private program websites as a sustainable alternative)

May outside funds or private research funds be used to supplement the budget?

Not ordinarily. Only in rare cases and under special circumstances may external funding be considered to supplement a program. Please consult with the Academic Ventures staff if you have any questions.

Where do the programs take place?

All programs convene at the Radcliffe Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Our professional events staff handles all the logistics (invitations, RSVPs, travel arrangements, hotel reservations, catering, room setup, name tags, distribution of agendas, etc.) so that you can focus on the content of your program. Meeting, dining, and lodging spaces are provided on or near the campus.

When will Exploratory Seminar applicants be notified of funding decisions?

All applicants will be notified in early January 2020.

When will Accelerator Workshop applicants be notified of funding decisions?

All applicants will be notified in early April 2020.

What specific information is required in the application?

Both the Exploratory Seminar and Accelerator Workshop applications include the following sections:

  1. Registration: Details (including name, contact information, title, and institutional affiliation) about the organizer (and the co-organizer, if applicable)
  2. Proposal: Tentative title, executive summary, ideal date to host the program, and narrative (2,500-word limit) of your proposed seminar or workshop, including the background, motivation, specific ideas to be explored, and description of why the Exploratory Seminar or the Accelerator Workshop program is best suited to/needed for your proposal. [Note: Accelerator Workshop applications also require a description of the desired outcome(s) for the proposal.]
  3. Invitees: List of people who would ideally participate, with details (name, contact information, title, affiliation, etc.) and a brief rationale for inviting each person
  4. Schedule: Outline of the tentative structure of your one- to two-day program
  5. Optional supporting documents: Any supplementary materials you deem necessary

Is it possible to view an example of a successful application?

Yes. To see samples of prior successful applications, please contact Kristen Osborne at exsem@radcliffe.harvard.edu

What types of deliverables are acceptable for workshops? What if we don’t yet know what the best outcome would be?

Deliverables may vary greatly. In the past, they have included articles/volumes for publication, grant applications, course curricula, policy recommendations, and future conferences. Artists may consider conceptualizing exhibitions, concerts, films, or performances. Please note, however, that neither Exploratory Seminars nor Accelerator Workshops are grant-writing or conference/event-planning meetings. Rather, they focus on the intellectual development of the academic content for any later outcomes.

Although an application should specify a desired outcome, we fully understand that participants may realize over the course of the workshop that a different outcome is necessary or even preferable.

More Questions?

For questions regarding the application process, the online portal, the timeline, and other logistics, please contact Kristen Osborne at kristen_osborne@radcliffe.harvard.edu.

For questions regarding eligibility, subject matter, and content, please contact Sean O’Donnell at sean_odonnell@radcliffe.harvard.edu.